Selecting Text In Word 2010

One of the most common tasks you’ll have to perform in Microsoft Word is making selections. Changing the formatting of existing text in your document starts with selecting that text first and then applying the formatting. Sometimes you might want to bold or italicise one particular word, other times you might want to apply a style to a whole paragraph – for example, when including quoted speech in your document.

The most basic way of selecting text is to drag your cursor over it. Doing this, you can select a word (or even part of a word), several words or even several lines or paragraphs. Once you’ve made your selection, you can manipulate it how you want, whether it’s applying formatting or moving it to another location in the document.

But did you know there are other ways to select certain portions of your document?

Ways To Select Text In Microsoft Word

Here is a list of some really useful ways of selecting text in your Word document. Test yourself by seeing how many you know. To learn their use, you can practise on any document you have to hand. If you don’t have a document with a large amount of text in it, create a new document, type in =rand(10,5) and press enter to get 10 paragraphs of 5 sentences each. How to select:

  • Any amount of text: drag your mouse over the text you want to select.
  • Any amount of text: a similar method to the one above is to place the cursor at the start of the text you want to select and then hold down shift whilst holding down the right arrow key. You can also use the left arrow key to select text in the opposite direction. Using the down arrow key instead will select whole lines. You can get clever by placing the cursor at the start of some text, holding down shift and pressing End to select text from the cursor position to the end of the line. Holding down shift and pressing Home goes the other way: it selects text from the cursor position backwards to the start of the line.
  • One word: double click on a word to select just that word.
  • A paragraph: triple click anywhere in a paragraph will select the whole paragraph.
  • The whole document: to select the whole document, move the cursor to the left of any text until it changes to an arrow and then triple click.
  • A line: pick out a particular line in your document and move the cursor alongside it in the left margin until it changes to an arrow. Clicking once will select that line.
  • Multiple lines: as above, but this time instead of just clicking once, click and drag downwards to select several lines at once.
  • A paragraph: again, move the cursor into the left margin until it becomes an arrow, but this time double click. The whole paragraph is selected.
  • The whole document: select everything in your entire document by pressing ctrl-a. Or you can go the long way around and go to the Home tab > Editing group > Select > Select All.
  • A table: select everything in a table by placing the cursor in the table and clicking Layout (in the Table Tools contextual tab that appears in the ribbon) > Tables > Select > Select Table. Alternatively, and more quickly, you can move the cursor over the table until you see the table selection symbol appear at the table’s top left corner. Click that to select the whole table.
  • A table cell: if the cursor is in one cell of a table, pressing the tab key will select the contents of the next cell. Pressing shift-tab will select the previous cell.
  • A sentence: hold down ctrl and then click anywhere in the sentence.
  • A large amount of text: place the cursor at the start of the text you want to select, hold down shift and then click at the end of the text.
  • A vertical block of text: hold down alt while dragging over the text. Weird.
  • Multiple selections of text: if you want to select several pieces of text in different locations in your document, the ctrl key is your friend. Select one piece of text using any of the methods outlined above and then hold down ctrl while selecting another piece of text.

There are a lot more options available for selecting text, and to find out more you should visit Word help (press F1 in any Word document and search for “select”. The above are the most commonly used ways to select text. Once you’ve selected your text, there’s a whole host of things you can do to it, such as adding bullet points, drawing a border around the text, and styling it.